Short Story Rhetorical Analysis of “The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant

Honesty is the best policy. In “The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant, Mathilde and her husband lead a very simple life. Until one day, her husband, Mr.Loisel receives an invitation to a ball. Mathilde is very displeased to learn about this invitation as she has nothing “extravagant” to wear. Here is where Maupassant uses hyperbole irony, in order to have Mathilde seem as a greedy character. Once Mathilde has her dress and diamond necklace, on her way back from the ball is when she notices that she lost the necklace. The short story is formed around the loss of this diamond necklace. Mathilde and her husband had changed their lifestyles and had spent the next 10 years paying off the debt from replacing the necklace. The Loisel’s face conflict between paying off the debt and the characterization of Mathilde, this contributes to the themes seen in the story. Throughout this story, the author tries to tell us that we should be honest with people and that we must be grateful for what we have.

The characterization of Mathilde also helped to contribute to the overall theme. “One of those pretty charming girls, born by a blunder of destiny in a family of employees” (page 1). The author is being direct when he tells us that she was born into a family of destiny, and for this reason she feels she must live up to it. Characterization can be defined as the creation or construction of a fictional character. We can see as the story develops, how guilty and remorseful Mathilde feels.

The author uses characterization and hyperbole irony to get his point across. Hyperbole irony can be defined as when a character contradicts themselves extensively. A direct example of this was seen when Mathilde was displeased to receive an invitation to the ball. For 10 years, the Loisel’s lived miserably trying to pay off their debt. If Mathilde had just been honest, she wouldn’t have needed to buy a replacement for a fake necklace.

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